Press Releases

Growth continues on European passenger car market

Berlin, 16 June 2017

US almost equals 2016 level – China contracts slightly – Russia and Brazil show double-digit growth

The international automotive markets presented a varied picture in May. While passenger car sales in Europe continued to rise, the US almost equaled last year’s level and China recorded a slight fall. In contrast, Russia and Brazil both showed double-digit growth.

In Europe (EU28 + EFTA) new registrations of passenger cars rose last month to just over 1.4 million new vehicles (+8 percent). Out of the five largest individual markets, Germany recorded the greatest increase – of 13 percent. Keen growth was also seen in Spain (+11 percent), France (+9 percent) and Italy (+8 percent), but the British market lost around 9 percent.

Since January 2017, more than 6.9 million passenger cars have been newly registered on the European market. This represents a year-to-date rise of 5 percent.

The US market for light vehicles (passenger cars and light trucks) contracted slightly in May, losing 1 percent (1.5 million units). The existing trends in these segments continued: sales of light trucks increased by 6 percent, whereas sales of cars slumped by 10 percent. From January to May a total of 6.9 million light vehicles were sold in the US (-2 percent).

On the Chinese passenger car market 1.7 million new vehicles were sold in May, which was nearly 2 percent less than in the same month last year. By contrast, the market added around 3 percent in the first five months of 2017 and reached a volume of more than 9.1 million units. In the light of current market developments the VDA has revised its forecast for the Chinese market. Now growth of at least 2 percent (previously +5 percent) is predicted for the year 2017 as a whole, which equates to a volume of 24.1 million passenger cars.

The Indian new passenger car market expanded again last month. Sales totaled 251,600 units, resulting in a year-on-year rise of almost 9 percent. Year-to-date car sales have increased by more than 11 percent to 1.3 million units.

In Japan, new passenger car registrations showed double-digit growth in May for the third time in succession. They amounted to 312,400 units, which was a good 13 percent up on May 2016. So far this year, sales of new cars have added 9 percent to around 2 million.

The Russian light vehicle market expanded again – by 15 percent – last month, climbing to 125,000 units. The accumulated market volume for this year now stands at 577,400 units (+5 percent).

The light vehicle market in Brazil also showed more impressive growth in May: sales came to 190,400 new vehicles, which was a rise of 17 percent. From January to May, a total of 803,600 light vehicles were newly registered (+2 percent).

  May 2017 January - May 2017
  Units Change
17/16 in %
Units Change
17/16 in %
Europe (EU28+EFTA)*

1.433.200

7,7 6.920.500 5,1
  European Union (EU-28)* 1.386.800 7,6 6.719.200 5,3
  W. Europe (EU15+EFTA) 1.313.300 6,8 6.375.400 4,3
  New EU Countries (EU13)* 119.900 17,3 545.100 15,9
Russia** 125.000 14,7 577.400 5,1
USA** 1.509.600 -0,6 6.937.700 -2,0
Japan 312.400 13,4 1.950.200 9,1
Brazil** 190.400 17,3 803.600 2,3
India 251.600 8,6 1.332.500 11,3
China 1.703.200 -1,8 9.148.100 2,6

* without Malta
** Light Vehicles

Eckehart Rotter
Eckehart Rotter Head of Department Press

Tel: +49 30 897842-120 Fax: +49 30 897842-603
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